Sunday, July 21, 2024

Virginia Peninsula Community College Preps Students for Burgeoning Drone Industry

(WYDaily/Courtesy of Pixabay)
(WYDaily/Courtesy of Pixabay)

HAMPTON — DroneUp, LLC, a Virginia-based company that specializes in drone technology and flight services, made a big announcement on Aug. 24, revealing it is expanding its Virginia Beach headquarters as well as investing in a new research and development center for drone operators at Richard Bland College in Dinwiddie County.

The two projects total a combined $27.2 million investment in Virginia and the projects are expected to create 655 jobs.

Virginia Peninsula Community College (VPCC) cited the project as the kind of opportunity it had anticipated when it began offering classes on drones five years ago, noting it now offers a number of drone classes at its Hampton and Historic Triangle campuses.

“VPCC offers the only certificate program in UMS (Unmanned Systems) in the area,” said Julie Young, head of the College’s drone program, in a news release. “We have students from the Virginia Beach area, Richmond area, and Northern Virginia.”

In 2017, VPCC developed a nine-credit UMS Career Studies Certificate (CSC), and the program launched with seven students in that year’s fall semester. The school says that the certificate has since been expanded to 19 credits and has taught over 250 students since the program’s inception.

The courses offered at VPCC present opportunities for local students to discover a growing industry in the region.

“Students can register for a single course or enroll in all the courses,” said Young. “It is possible to complete the CSC in one semester because of the way we stack them as 8-week and 12-week courses.”

DroneUp is poised to provide drone delivery services for Walmart after the Virginia-based company successfully landed a multi-year contract. As a result, DroneUp has plans to establish three drone hubs in the commonwealth by the end of the year.

(Courtesy of NASA Langley Research Center)

State-of-the-art research centers like NASA Langley Research Center and Longbow Fort Monroe are also investing in efforts to further unmanned systems. On Aug. 17, NASA Langley held a groundbreaking ceremony for its upcoming Flight Dynamics Research Facility, where researchers plan to develop new technologies that will also contribute to future space missions.

Check out the school’s website to learn more about VPCC’s course offerings.

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